Triple Threat Focus Fights Childhood Obesity
By Sandy Schroeder
Keeping kids healthy and happy is not easy, but you may make it happen by zeroing in on sleep, TV time, and physical activity. Researchers say this three-way approach helps kids thrive, and escape childhood obesity.
Formula for Success
Researchers at Louisiana’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center found focusing on these targets made an 85 percent difference in reducing childhood obesity. If only two of the three targets were mastered, the chance of reducing childhood obesity dropped to 40 percent.
Check these guidelines to help kids thrive.
Sleeping well – Make sure your kids get 9-11 hours of sleep for ages 5 to 13, and 8-10 hours for ages 14 to 18. To make this a reality, keep electronics, including televisions, out of the bedroom. Ban phones, laptops and tablets. Set a regular bedtime and establish a quiet zone at bedtime. Warm baths, light snacks, and reading or talking with mom or dad can help everyone wind down. Use blackout drapes to lower light, and fans or air filters to muffle sound. Also monitor the amount of caffeine kids are getting in sodas and energy drinks, especially later in the day.
Hold the line on TV – Limit TV viewing to two hours or less a day. Pick the best times and monitor the choices. In today’s climate of intense global news, controlling TV exposure can be even more crucial. Make the TV one of many choices in your living room or family room. Move the TV into a corner and fill the rest of the room with game tables, books, crafts, musical instruments and puzzles.
Keep adding items that interest you and your kids. A friend of mine has three boys. She plays a musical instrument, and so does her husband. Of course, all three kids now play, too. Musical fun beats TV every time. Another family caught the botany bug. They love to visit a "butterfly house" at the local environmental center in our area. Summer science classes are next.
Physical activity – Make sure your kids get at least an hour of physical activity per day for five days out of the week. School sports with practice for soccer, track or basketball will fill the bill. Weekend hikes or walking with mom or dad after dinner reinforce the active habit. Dance classes, gymnastics, or yoga for kids might fit. Learning new sports with your kids could fill weekends with tennis, golf, or kayaking.
You may get all sorts of extra benefits as you focus on these targets. Kids may be less crabby in the morning and less wound up at night. Over a period of time, the natural rhythms of rest and activity may lower stress for the whole household.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.